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Betsy Devos in Bellevue:
They love her inside, not so much outside

October 14, 2017

Speakers talking to the protest crowd outside the Bellevue hotel Friday night where Betsy Devos was the keynote speaker at the Washington Policy Center’s annual dinner. Photos: Facebook

Betsy Devos, left. Donald Trump's choice to be Education Secretary. Both were all smiles for the camera in this November 2016 get together Photo: YouTube. CLICK TO ENLARGE
Chronicle staff
News & opinion

(BELLEVUE, WA.) -- Poor billionaire Betsy Devos. As the late Rodney Dangerfield used to say, she just can't seem to get no respect -- at least from a lot of everyday working class stiffs.

The beleaguered US Education Secretary's appearances around the country have taken on a familiar pattern.

Devos shows up to a Scarsdale-type crowd event to speak - as in Bellevue Friday night where it was $350 a pop to hear her golden tones wax about the state of education in America - and they love her.

She's their kind of Education Secretary it seems; super-rich, never spent a day learning as a kid in a public school, neither have her kids. Devos was always "above" public education, if you will, by virtue of money.

Oh. And according to testimony at Devos' confirmation hearing, she seems to have zero qualifications for the job other than those that might exist in her own mind and (evidently) being a handsome contributor to Donald Trump's Presidential campaign.

Then outside the venue you find a big crowd of everyday working class Americans - and in there lots of folks who work in public education - showing up to protest the fact that Betsy's even in town, let alone her having the nerve to preach to other Americans about public education.

And that's the way it went in lovely Bellevue Friday night at a hotel ballroom (do they still have ballroom dancing these days?) where Devos was the keynote speaker before an upper crust crowd at the Washington Policy Center’s annual dinner.

And just who is the WPC? Their website describes the group as "an independent, non-profit, think tank that promotes sound public policy based on free-market solutions."

That should explain why they were happy to see someone like Betsy come to talk to them. Ms. Devos seems to speak their language. Ergo, $350 a pop and not just a can of food for the local food bank to get inside.

Outside it was a different kettle of fish. Those rabble rousing, working stiff everyday Americans showed up to protest the Devos appearance.

Besides the great unwashed there were some local elected officials as well, such as Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, Bellevue's Mayor John Stokes and King County Executive Dow Constantine.

They told the crowd that DeVos’ ideas about what public education should be are not welcome in this state.

Poor Betsy. She says she's just about giving people choices .

Who could argue with choices?

At the grocery store, you like a choice between a red apple and yellow one, right? What on earth could be wrong with choices?

Devos is peddling the voucher route for choices. They allow students to use public money to attend private or parochial schools as well as charter schools.

Some folks don't like being told about choices from a one per-center they think is out to destroy public education in this country by privatizing as much of it as they can get away with.

“Being a billionaire, right-wing donor should not give you license to take a sledgehammer to the foundation of equal opportunity,” Constantine to told the crowd. “No, it should not, but here she is."

The Seattle Times said last night's protest, "appeared to be the largest since DeVos took office in February."

An so it goes with America's billionaire Education Secretary who never went to a public school in her life.



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